HHS Announces Additional CARES Act Funds for Nursing Homes

On August 7, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that nursing homes and long-term care facilities will receive an additional $5 billion in payments from the Provider Relief Fund. $2.5 billion will support increased testing, staffing, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needs, and establishment of COVID-19 isolation facilities. The remaining $2.5 billion will be linked to nursing home performance, which will consider the prevalence of COVID-19 in the nursing home’s local geography and the facility’s ability within this framework to control COVID-19 spread and related fatalities among its residents.

Kentucky Area Development Districts to Receive $6 Million in CARES Act Funding

On August 12, 2020, Governor Andy Beshear announced that $6 million in funding from the CARES Act will go to reimburse Kentucky’s fifteen Area Development Districts (ADDs) for costs associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Each ADD can expect approximately $392,000 to fund regional disaster economic recovery coordinates, develop disaster resiliency and recovery plans, improve short-term and long-term economic development plans and coordination, provide technical assistance and capacity building for local governments and businesses impacted by COVID-19, and offer organizational support for COVID-19 responses.On August 13, Governor Beshear also announced that fifteen Eastern Kentucky local governments will receive nearly $4 million in CARES Act funds for expenses related to COVID-19.

HHS Makes Second Disbursement of CARES Act Relief Funds to Providers

As we previously reported, on April 10, 2020, HHS issued the first disbursement of $30 billion from the CARES Act Emergency Relief Fund for Providers (Relief Fund). On April 24, 2020, HHS announced a second disbursement of $20 billion from the Relief Fund. Per HHS, the second disbursement is intended to “augment [recipients’] allocation so that the whole $50 billion general distribution is allocated proportional to providers’ share of 2018 net patient revenue.” While recipients did not have to apply in order to receive these funds, both disbursements are accompanied by Terms and Conditions that impose strict eligibility and usage requirements. Notably, HHS updated the first Terms and Conditions document to match several of the requirements included in the second Terms and Conditions document—however, the Terms and Conditions for these two disbursements are not entirely identical and there are differences. Kathie McDonald-McClure and Victoria Fuller of Wyatt prepared an update to their prior article about the second disbursement of Relief Funds, the Terms and Conditions and the compliance requirements. Click here to read more.

CARES Act

March 27, 2020

March 25, 2020, the Senate passed a bill known as the CARES Act to provide relief to the American people and industries in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The bill was passed by the House of Representatives today and is now before the President for signature. The legislation provides billions of dollars for healthcare providers to assist in the purchase of supplies and otherwise fund operations during this difficult time. The bill also ends the Medicare sequester for calendar year 2020, allowing for additional Medicare reimbursement for this year. In addition, the bill provides for coverage for new care arrangements during the coronavirus emergency period, including extending telehealth care.

Medicare Payment Advances

April 3, 2020

On March 28, 2020, CMS announced an expansion of its accelerated and advance payment program for Medicare participating health care providers and suppliers, to help ensure that they have the resources needed to combat COVID-19. This expansion, based on changes from the recently enacted Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, provides emergency funding and addresses cash flow issues based on historical payments when there is disruption in claims submission or claims processing. The payments can be requested by eligible hospitals, doctors, and other providers and suppliers by contacting their individual Medicare Administrative Contractor. The CMS clarified in its March 31, 2020 National Stakeholders Call with Administrator Seema Verma, that the accelerated and advance payments are not subsidies and will be recouped through a review and reconciliation process for subsequently filed claims.

The CARES Act $30 Billion to Medicare FFS Providers Has Strings Attached

April 17, 2020

Beginning April 10, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) disbursed $30 billion of the $100 billion of Emergency Relief Fund provided under the CARES Act. Although Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma had stated that the Relief Fund payments have “no strings attached,” any provider who received a payment must sign an Attestation agreeing to certain Terms and Conditions.The Terms & Conditions include an agreement to comply with limitations on the use of the payments (i.e., only for COVID19-related care) and to submit reports regarding how the payment was used. The Attestation is to be submitted via the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund Payment Attestation Portal available on the HHS CARES Act Provider Relief Fund webpage. For additional information about the Terms & Conditions associated with the Relief Fund payments, see the article authored by Kathie McDonald-McClure and Victoria Fuller.

CARES Act Grants Could Put Providers at Risk

April 24, 2020

Despite the promise from CMS Administrator Seema Verma that grants provided as part of the first $30 billion distribution of funds allocated to providers under the CARES Act was “no strings attached,” there are terms and conditions attached to those payments which providers must be aware of and act in accordance with to limit exposure to risk.

Relief Payments to Health Care Providers under the CARES Act: Strings are Attached

April 17, 2020

On March 27, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”)
was enacted. It allocated $100 billion to a Public Health and Social Services Emergency
Fund (Relief Fund) to disburse to hospitals and other healthcare providers in order to
support healthcare-related expenses and reimburse lost revenues attributable to
the COVID-19 public health emergency. On April 10, 2020, HHS announced that it was
beginning to distribute $30 billion to eligible providers. Click here to read the article.

EEOC Issues Guidance on What Employers Should Know about the ADA and Rehabilitation Act in Light of COVID-19

March 20, 2020

It is now common knowledge that the World Health Organization (“WHO”) has classified COVID-19 as an international pandemic. This week, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) issued guidance to employers on implementation strategies to utilize in navigating the impact of COVID-19 in the workplace, specifically how it impacts the Americans With Disabilities Act (“ADA”) and Rehabilitation Act. Click here to read more.